There have been a random assortment of things on my mind lately, and I wanted to mull things over before posting. So in no particular order, let us begin.
#NaNoReMo Update: I’m three and a half books into January. I think I’ll finish the last one by the end of the week.
Idoru by William Gibson– Done! Open Your Eyes by Paul Jessup– Done! Sleight of Hand by Peter S. Beagle– Done!
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making – Halfway through
I’ve officially passed the 50% mark of ‘The Golden Thread’, my current WIP. It’s still a first draft and very rough, but I’m surprised how much I’ve enjoyed working with an outline this time around. Even with a scene by scene guide, there’s still room for surprise. The characters still get up to their tricks, and move the story along in ways I never anticipated. Those surprises are what I love best about writing. It feels a little bit like magic, and maybe it is.
I had a chat with Doug Savage of Savage Chickens over hot chocolate. He explained what he went through to get his book published, including how he worked with his agent to put together a proposal to pitch to publishers, and what happened afterwards. He said that right now publishers are looking for a sure bet. They wanted to know that there was a market ready for book, and they want concrete evidence. In his case, since his book was non-fiction, he had to provide detailed stats including how much blog traffic he gets, how many people follow his twitter account.
It’s not the same for fiction, but that brings me back up to the crux of this rambling section: a need to identify a market. I’m a little lost with this part. I don’t know who my novel will appeal to. I read a lot of fantasy, but I haven’t found any easy comparisons. In fact, I wrote this novel to address things I didn’t typically see in fantasy, but I wanted to. I’m going to have to do a little bit of research reading so I can fill in the blanks: “My book will appeal to fans of X author, and X author.” I’m just worried that I may come up empty, or that at present the book is completely unmarketable.
Not convinced this is important? Check out pitch tips from agents on twitter. They will ask you for comparable novels if you pitch your novel to them. They will take it as evidence that you are not well read in your genre if you can’t answer. I don’t think this is necessarily a true assumption, but what can you do?
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Courage comes and goes when it comes to this whole crazy writing business. For the most part, I usually keep my head down, and busy so I don’t have time for fear. I’m anxious because no idea how to know how far along I am on the journey, nor even if I’m at the point where my writing is publishable. Do you keep working on the first novel? Keep sending it out? Or go on to the next thing? When do you stop? When are you done?
I realize there are no clear answers to this, because no one’s journey is the same. I think it’s the uncertainty that gets to me. Some reassurance that I’m still making progress would be great right about now, but there really are no statistics to measure by.
And so that’s about it. In the meantime I’m just going to keep working. I have another novel to finish, and it’s looking like the first draft will be done by the end of March. It’s a completely different subgrenre from the first novel, which has been a nice change, but also a challenge.
How do you know you’re making progress? Do you? Or do you worry about it like I do?